Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

The world is changing fast, and it can be hard to keep up with all the various technologies being developed at any one time. From agriculture to medicine to energy, advancements are being made every day — and some of them will change the world as we know it.

Learn a little bit about these 10 emerging technologies that could directly affect your life within the next few years.

In Vitro Meat

in-vitro-meat

Whatever your stance on vegetarianism or eating meat, it cannot be disputed that our current system of acquiring meat is unsustainable. Large amounts of resources are poured into feeding, slaughtering, and transporting animals — and it wastes massive amounts of water and energy. The animals we raise also produce large amounts of methane gas, which is a significant contributor to climate change.

In addition to the environmental repercussions, there’s also the ethics of farm animal treatment. Many animals are kept in tight, closed places for the entirety of their lives and never allowed to roam. Say what you will about the ethics of killing animals for food, but the conditions that many animals are raised in should be appalling to anyone.

However, it’s not realistic to imagine a future where humans are not eating meat. Humans are diverse eaters, and we could sure survive without meat, but there is a culture of meat in most parts of the world that cannot be erased. To answer this, there is in vitro meat.

Ads by Google

In vitro meat is meat that is grown in a lab. Now before you say “Ewww” and ignore the rest of this section, try to think scientifically. Meat is composed of atoms, and if you can recreate those atoms in the exact fashion — but by a different means — it is still meat. If you were presented with two pieces of beef, one in vitro and one from a cow, and you couldn’t tell them apart by taste or texture or anything else, would it still be gross?

The answer is that lab meat doesn’t have to be a gross blob. We can create meat that is identical to current meat. That’s not gross — that’s a practical replacement. Professor of Molecular Biology at Stanford University Pat Brown, had this to say in an interview with The Guardian:

I have zero interest in making a new food just for vegans. I am making a food for people who are comfortable eating meat and who want to continue eating meat. I want to reduce the human footprint on this planet by 50 percent.

Plus, in vitro meat is never alive, so it never dies. Ethically, it makes much more sense. Environmentally, it requires less resources to grow. Economically, though, the price of in vitro meat is still much too high for mass production. And with a large farming lobby in the US and other countries, there could be a legal barrier as well.

Those high productions costs could be the biggest barrier to consumer in vitro meat products. Hopefully, advancements in the field will continue to drive the price down. Companies like New Harvest and Modern Meadow are working to make in vitro meat a reality. Or, who knows, maybe we’ll be 3D printing our meat 5 Amazing 3D Printing Applications You Have to See to Believe 5 Amazing 3D Printing Applications You Have to See to Believe What would you do with a 3D printer? If the people developing these applications have anything to say about it, you might be surprised. Read More ?

This technology may be years away from mass production, but when it arrives, it could change everything.

Powered Exoskeletons

Wheelchairs, while they are the best we have right now, are extremely limited. They’re difficult to get into and out of by one’s self, they place disabled people physically lower than their peers, and they can’t climb stairs.

All of that could change if powered exoskeletons become a reality. As with many emerging technologies, production cost is currently a large issue, but the price of exoskeletons should go down in the future. Right now, the ReWalk is the best alternative to the wheelchair, but there are many others like the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) and Tek RMD.

The ReWalk, specifically, allows paraplegics to stand and walk around, allowing for more exercise, healthier lifestyle, and the ability to see eye-to-eye with their peers. Larry Jasinki, CEO of ReWalk Robotics had this to say about his company’s tech:

This revolutionary product will have an immediate, life-changing impact on individuals with spinal cord injuries. For the first time, individuals with paraplegia will be able to take home this exoskeleton technology, use it every day and maximize on the physiological and psychological benefits we have observed in clinical trials.

Additionally, powered exoskeletons of a larger, stronger kind have many more uses. Emergency responders can use exoskeletons to increase their strength, thus allowing them to lift large amounts of rubble and save survivors in collapsed buildings or rock slides, or allowing them to lift larger patients by themselves.

The US military is also funding many exoskeleton ventures meant to help soldiers walk further and carry more.

However, power supplies continue to be an issue in exoskeletons. How do you carry something compact enough to fit in the exoskeleton that is also powerful enough to drive the whole thing? Advancements are being made by many groups, including NASA, but the technology is still a few years out. We included exoskeletons in our list of emerging technologies that could change the world 4 Technologies That Could Change the World 4 Technologies That Could Change the World Right now is such an exciting time to be alive, as science and technology hurtles humanity forward at such incredible rates. Who would've thought ten years ago that we'd have one touch access to all... Read More a few years ago, and they’re even more relevant today.

Brain-controlled Computers

Yes, that’s right, computers and devices you control with your brain. A computer controlled by the mind could allow those without arms or legs (or the ability to use their arms or legs) to properly control a prosthetic, exoskeleton, or other device. It’s just one of the many ways humans are trying to improve as a species How Technology May Be Influencing Human Evolution How Technology May Be Influencing Human Evolution There's not a single aspect of the human experience that hasn't been touched by technology, including our very bodies. Read More .

For a prominent example of how this could benefit people, think of Steven Hawking and others who suffer from ALS and gradually lose the ability to move their body. Brain-controlled computers, in combination with other technologies, could change all of that. Even a brain-controlled computer alone without connected prosthetics could allows users to browse the Internet, play games, or watch movies — things many of us take for granted.

As far back as 2004, scientists have successfully hooked up brain-controlled computers to allow users to play pong with their minds. Lots of work has to go into this field before practical real world results can be seen, but it has the potential to change the lives of millions of disabled people. Although, there are some scary facets of this as well, like the ability to have your brain hacked Tapping Brainwaves: Will Our Brains Soon Be Hackable? Tapping Brainwaves: Will Our Brains Soon Be Hackable? With recent developments in brainwave sensing technologies, the idea of a future where a person's brain can be hacked is a worthy one to consider. Will it grow into a security threat? Read More .

High-Speed Transportation

Remember the Hyperloop? It is Elon Musk’s lofty goal of creating super fast transportation. It could theoretically take passengers from LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes — a trip that normally takes six hours. This theoretical system has a top speed of 760 mph, and designs have been made for both passenger-only and passenger-and-vehicle versions, with cost estimations for the LA to SF route hitting $6 billion and $7.5 billion dollars respectively.

So it’s clearly an expensive system. But the Hyperloop, and other ideas like it, are part of a trend in the development of high-speed transportation. As the world has globalized, people need to get from one place to another quicker than ever, and plane trips from one end of the world to another can take upwards of 14 hours, and many more if you need connecting flights.

Another popular system that many are hopeful will be implemented in the near future is the Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT), an airless, frictionless system that essentially puts people in a tube and shoots them off to their destination. It can hit speeds of 4,000 mph and get you from New York to LA in 45 minutes (a normally six hour flight), while using significantly less fuel and resources than airline travel.

With the right funding and support, we could see the ETT, developed by company ET3, begin to be implemented in the next few years, but it all depends on how much people are willing to invest in our future transportation infrastructure. Even if this is implemented, it would likely be a while before costs reach low consumer levels.

Whether it’s ETT or Hyperloop or some new technology, you can bet that humanity has something better up its sleeve than regular airline travel.

Genome Editing

dna-genome

So many diseases come from defective genes — but what if we could just replace those defective genes? That’s the idea behind genome editing, which has been gaining a lot of steam in recent years. With this technological advance comes a major opportunity to wipe out tons of genetic diseases.

Many biotech companies have been successfully gathering funds for research on this possible treatment, including Bluebird Bio, which had a $116 million IPO recently, and Juno Therapeutics, which has raised $120 million in venture capital.

The ability to edit or replace specific genes relies on modified viruses like the adeno-associated virus (AAV), which can get into a person’s body and replace the faulty genes with good ones. Another method is to remove some cells, treat them with a modified virus, and then reinsert the cells back into a patient’s body. All of these methods could prove to be quite expensive, but as more companies invest in it, the price should go down.

Genome editing — or gene therapy as it’s also called — differs a bit from genetic modification, although more so in purpose than in application. Both alter the genes in an organism’s genome, but genome editing seeks to fix defective genes while genetic modification seeks to change well-functioning genes to improve an organism. This is great for increasing the nutrition or improving the taste of food, but when it comes to humans, the ethics of “improving” them is scary.

As long as we stick to curing diseases rather than “improving” ourselves genetically, this emerging technology is wonderfully exciting.

Solar Power

solar-panels

As we run out of gasoline, alternative energy sources are a place that many companies are beginning to invest. It’s an area of growth, and it’s where our future is. Solar energy is perhaps the most prolific of the alternative energy sources.

Solar panels have been around for a while, but they’re not very efficient. The most efficient solar panels of 2014 reach 44.7% efficiency, but most mainstream solar panels are even lower than that. There’s enormous room for improvement, and it’s really starting to boom. Many experts, such as Professor David Mills who co-founded Ausra Inc., believe that solar energy has the potential to compete with fossil fuels in the near future. In an interview with Scientific American, Professor Mills said:

With the right tax policies, such as a mechanism for pricing the cost of carbon, there is no reason solar thermal power cannot be cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the near future.

Many technologies hold the ability to be a game changer here, including nanoparticles, transparent solar panels, spray-on solar cells Efficient. Cheap. Awesome. Here's Why New Spray-On Solar Cells Matter Efficient. Cheap. Awesome. Here's Why New Spray-On Solar Cells Matter The cost of solar energy is set to drop precipitously after a team of scientists working at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom announced development of solar cells using a spray-on process. Read More , and advanced forecasting computers. As with many of these technologies, prices have been dropping quickly, and it could soon be plausible for the average homeowner to install solar panels on their home and become completely energy independent Goodbye Power Company: Why You May Soon Be Generating Your Own Electricity Goodbye Power Company: Why You May Soon Be Generating Your Own Electricity Solar power allows the clean generation of electricity, using a source that is guaranteed to never run out in our lifetime - the sun. But will it ever beat out the power companies? Read More .

Desalination

desalination

We’re running out of fresh water. I know this sounds weird in a world that is mostly water, but unfortunately all of our oceans are salt water. Desalination has existed for a while, but it’s been expensive and not viable as a reliable source of water. But — you guessed it — that’s changing!

When salt water is converted into fresh water, brine is leftover. That brine is full of salt but also many different kinds of metals, and while it’s generally treated as waste, new methods of extracting the metals from desalination brine could make use of all of that “waste”. If it becomes economically feasible to extract metals from desalination brine rather than mining them elsewhere, the positive gain from that could offset the costs of desalination.

Imagine that, we get freshwater and more metals for our batteries and electronic devices — it’s a win-win.

A Real Tricorder

If you’ve ever seen Star Trek, you know of the tricorder. It’s a medical device that can check all of a patient’s vitals and diagnose various diseases. Qualcomm is currently hosting a competition with a grand prize of $10 million to develop a real life tricorder. To win, the device needs to monitor a patient’s  blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, temperature, and breathing, as well as diagnose 12 different diseases on the spot including pertussis, HIV, and shingles.

That’s a pretty ambitious goal, but it could greatly advance the medical field, especially if it became cheap enough to distribute in developing countries that have a lack of funds and doctors. It may have been sci-fi, but it could soon be reality.

The youngest team in the competition, Aezon, is excited to be developing something so revolutionary. Their team leader, Tatiana Rypinski, an undergrad at John Hopkins University, had this to say in an interview about her team:

Because we’re new to the field, we’re not bound by the status quo in health care, and as a result, we’re poised to find very creative solutions. … Our technology could really change the way that consumers view their own health. So if they’re feeling sick, they can immediately know if it’s something that they need to be worried about.

With so many determined teams looking to find a solution, this innovative new device should become a reality soon.

Agricultural Drones

agricultural-drone

Farming is hard work. It requires a lot of effort with a relatively low and unreliable return, but drones are changing that.

Now, these aren’t the military-style machines you’re probably thinking of. They’re more like flying cameras. They’re becoming relatively cheap, thanks to a drop in the prices of processors, cameras, and GPS units — there’s even open source drone software at places like DIY Drones.

These drones can autopilot themselves — from takeoff to landing — and take extensive pictures of a farm for later analysis. Infrared pictures can point out unhealthy areas of crops that are hard to see from the ground, and they can also show farmers irrigation problems or pest infections. To increase crop yields and use less resources, drones are an integral part of the next generation of farming.

And with so many people on this planet, farming needs to be as efficient as possible.

Large Scale Electricity Storage

capacitors

Storing large amounts of energy is hard. This has been one of the major challenges for alternative energy sources, which generate energy at varying times. For example, solar panels generate a lot of energy during the day, but none at night, and wind turbines generate energy at extremely random rates. Sometimes there is too much energy from these sources, and at other times too little. But for these sources to replace coal and oil, they need effective storage.

Many ideas are in play here, including regular flow and solid batteries, but the most exciting emerging technology is even newer graphene supercapacitors. These supercapacitors can store large amounts of energy and disperse it quickly, far outpacing our regular electric batteries, and graphene makes an environmentally friendly and relatively cost efficient material for that. Development is ongoing, but the research is promising.

Anything We Missed?

There are lots of incredible technologies out there. Is there something we missed? What would you put on this list?

Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Earth Via Shutterstock, Solar panel on a red roof reflecting the sun and the cloudlessDNA backgroundMeat cultured in laboratory conditionsPart of Desalination Plant in LanzaroteProfessional carbon drone with GPS making a ride, and Capacitor bank from Shutterstock.

  1. Steve Knight
    September 14, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Carbon Fiber Nanotubes
    Production scale continuous fiber stranding will revolutionize many materials and electronic capacities as we know them today.

  2. Rahul
    April 28, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Mesh networks that makes server/internet independent networking.

  3. Daniel Giwa
    November 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Smartdust

  4. Shellie Mathews
    October 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Graphene applications.

  5. tushar
    April 30, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    3D printing Lost Parents, Humans, Relatives !!!

  6. rory anderson
    January 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    trust me, i like big butts so i cannot lie

  7. rory anderson
    January 20, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    thanks guys these technos r so awsum, I can finly walk agn

  8. Omar A
    October 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I think bionics are far more sophisticated than Exoskeletons, there is a TED talk about it if you wanna know more about it

  9. Michael C
    September 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I think you missed the boat on a few. It will be a long time before lab grown meat is cost effective. Eating insects as protein flours will happen faster and be much cheaper, with better nutritional value.
    No mention of supercapacitors? When supercapacitors mature, it will change the viability of solar and wind power , transportation, and virtually every portable device.
    No mention of the acceleration of computing power? Computation is at the heart of every technological breakthrough now, and as it becomes cheaper and more powerful it will accelerate technical and scientific progress tremendously.
    3d printing of human organs?
    Nanotech robots in our blood fighting disease?
    Harnessing biotech for everything?

  10. Chris
    September 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    There is a simple solution for desalination ... use Solar thermal as the distillation source to turn seawater to steam ... the steam will condense into close to fresh water ... and the minerals drop out. Voila! Plus you won't need near the storage capacity current forms of RO require.

  11. Tinkicker
    September 18, 2014 at 4:00 am

    "As far back as 2004, scientists have successfully hooked up brain-controlled computers to allow users to play pong with their minds."

    Uh-uhhhh....let's step back to 1982...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_(film)

    :D

  12. Warner Mach
    September 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    There is considerable research on "cold fusion" (Now called LENR - Low Energy Nuclear Reactions). Although much of the science establishment dismisses the notion, or is actively hostile to it, the "believers" see this as the answer to the energy problem.

    • Jerome
      September 18, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Wouldn't 'normal' fusion be a small revolution itself already? Could help a lot on the clean power situation.

  13. Niall M
    September 17, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Well, here in Zimbabwe mobile payments have changed the way we do things over here. Without a decent banking system (high charges and poor service) but more the fact that the vast majority of people don't need or can't afford a traditional bank account mobile payments are great.

    With over 105% of the country (statistically of course) on a mobile device (counted by SIM card) it's helps to be able to target all those millions without a bank account (which has already happened); it's a cashless system where you can pay pretty much anyone or for anything with just your mobile phone so no need to carry around cash or a credit/debit card.

    Seems Apple is a bit late to the party. Of course, when Apple does things they tend to revolutionise things whether they invented them or not!

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      interesting -- thanks for sharing that perspective with us. :)

  14. Shannon code
    September 17, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Blockchain technology, this area of tech is innovating so fast it's hard to keep up.

    Not just Bitcoin anymore.

    http://www.bitnation.co/ an entire government run via a blockchain.

    Dao , Dac, DApp
    Distributed Autonomous (corporations, organizations, programs)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LhgeNeF5_u3UzdTT4Anf6ddqicAKvzI9EOj8eW_9G-4/edit?usp=docslist_api

    Did you catch that?
    A corporation with no management? Programs that are financially self sustaining. Lawyerless contracts. Between multiple parties without having to trust... These things are being built now. https://www.swarm.co/apply/ , they are raising millions of dollars http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/06/03/mastercoin-maidsafe-crowdsale/

    And no one seems to know! Even many bitcoiners don't know. Kurzweil take note: I said it first, this is the narrow AI sneak attack of the kind speculated of in Daemon and Freedom TM

    And I'm helping to build it!

    • Guy M
      September 26, 2014 at 12:44 am

      I was thinking about this while reading the article on mesh networks. I don't know a lot about either, but it seems like there's a point where the two should intersect. I can't even fathom what that might result in.

      I think blockchain is a hard concept for average people to wrap their heads around. I've got 20 years in the technology field and it's still a boggling to me. I think you're right that this is going to be a force, though.

      Please tell us what you're doing to help build it. I would LOVE to read about that.

  15. Godel
    September 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I don't believe the efficiency of solar cells, as such, is a problem. It's more about total system cost per watt.
    The other problem with solar and the other renewables is utility scale storage, days worth at a time are needed.

  16. A41202813GMAIL
    September 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Invent Efficient Compressed Hydrogen Containers And A Lot Of Problems Will Be Gone.

    Cheers.

  17. Todd
    September 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    A company named Siluria, which already uses an MIT developed process of making specialized catalysts for a number of industries, has found a catalyst that turns natural gas and oxygen into ethylene. The energy usage in this process is much less than the process currently in place for converting oil into ethylene. The bonuses are plentiful, cheaper gasoline, easy refinery retrofit, less energy to create, more plentiful supplies of natural gas. Here is the article for those interested:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/523146/chasing-the-dream-of-half-price-gasoline-from-natural-gas/

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      thanks for sharing! sounds fascinating.

  18. Richard Palmer
    September 16, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I was certain that I'd find mention of self drive vehicles, There's one that was missed, so now I've added that. The self drive vehicle will revolutionise transport in a relatively short time. The technology is already here, tried and tested. Governments have people scratching their head over the necessary legislation changes for their introduction. The telecoms and software companies are all fighting for their place in the market, while the vehicle manufacturers are fighting to stay in that market.

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      I am really excited for self-driving vehicles as well. Hopefully these can make our roads much safer. :)

  19. Saad
    September 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Space Elevator: It will bring down the price of going to space 100 fold. It will also allow mining of space metals to earth for a fraction of the cost. Imagine, gold being at $20/oz. Of course, the first accomplishers will be ones getting most of the profit.

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      oh man, that sounds so cool.! I want to ride on a space elevator. :D

  20. Matthew
    September 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    We are NOT running out of fresh water. Nestle, et al are stipping it from our ground sources and selling it back to us at a premium. THAT is where our fresh water is going. And our governments are allowing it across the board.

    And we are now seeing the results of approximately 30 years of GMO/GE, HFCS and other chemically created food items. Diabetes, obesity, autism - all on the rise. NO ONE in the scientific community can put these together? Hmmm...oh that's right - American scientists have been bought and paid for by the likes of Monsanto, Dow Chemical, etc.

    • Jeff
      September 18, 2014 at 1:32 am

      One of the biggest bottled water companies (can't remember who it is) in California is deep welling their water and selling it through out the US. Remember California is going through a severe drought and is expected to thru many years. What is wrong with their regulatory system and the consumers awareness of this? Don't buy bottled water.

  21. etim
    September 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Betavoltaic batteries to generate electricity using radioactive wastes.
    The ones available now are expensive and with low outputs, but if we put the resources into development and lowering costs (like we've done with solar cells) Thin film batteries could be stacked by the thousands/millions to produce large-scale decentralized power plants with lifetimes measured in decades or even centuries.
    And in the process turn our deadly nuclear wastes into a valuable energy resource.

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      interesting idea -- thanks for sharing!

  22. Clint Norwood
    September 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    What's wrong with genetically improving ourselves?

    • Bre
      September 29, 2014 at 1:01 am

      When you look at all the things we've tried to genetically alter in order to change the origin we've seen much disaster. From GMOs in our food system to cloning sheep.

  23. Lookingforunbiasedscience
    September 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    You missed leaving politics out of it. You "meat" item is full of 'absolute' claims about unsustainability and climate change that are not in any way undisputed. It's unfortunate that you mixed your political agenda (and what many consider junk science) in with real scientific "reporting." Politics isn't what we come to MakeUseOf for.

  24. sucito
    September 16, 2014 at 6:22 am

    3D Printing!
    Why? Print replacement parts and custom stuff just for you!

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      True that -- 3D printing is also a very world-changing technology.

  25. Saikat B
    September 16, 2014 at 3:56 am

    My wishlist would include Printable organic solar cells. It's already on the cusp of development. Couple that to higher efficiency and you can have your own energy source with a CTRL+P.

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      sounds awesome! can't wait. :D

  26. Howard B
    September 16, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Missed a few:

    3D printing - being able to quickly manufacture prototype parts is already changing manufacturing; 3D printers for the home are becoming more affordable, and 3D scanning is going to make replacing items easier.
    Wireless charging - One thing expected in the iPhone 6 that wasn't revealed was what some Android phones already have: wireless charging stations or mats that mean you never have to plug in your phone. This will eventually eliminate the holes in cellphone bodies, making it easier to make them watertight.
    Miniaturization of computers (not only cellphones and tablets, but Raspberry Pi, Small Form Factor PCs, HTPCs)
    Wearable computing (smart watches will eventually *become* cellphones)
    Voice over IP - you can get a free phone number from Google Voice/Hangouts, call anywhere over WiFi - eventually leading to free cellphone service, but not without some kicking and screaming.
    Video games converging with PCs - PS4 and XBone already use x86/64 CPUs; many people use a TV as a monitor...
    Smart Grid - Commercial solar and wind power will wind up with excess power; storage will not be everywhere, so a Smart Grid is needed to store power and transfer where needed.
    High-Security Internet of Things - with people hacking *inkjet printers* to run DOOM, security technology has got to catch up; if we want to monitor our homes remotely, it has got to be 100% secure. We're not even to 10%, really.
    Enforced Recycling - We're still dumping waste in landfills, especially in rural areas. We've got to reclaim some of that waste, especially rare earth metals. That means 100% recycling, all the time.
    Medical nanotechnology - we've come a long way since the first laproscopic surgery. The next step is using even smaller incisions, and using even smaller, remotely-guided tools for surgery that will do even less damage and heal even faster. This may eventually lead to injectable, disposable repair robots, pre-programmed to fix things by themselves, then excrete themselves from the body - the ultimate outpatient surgery.
    High-tech vehicle batteries - The Tesla Roadster and Model S are great vehicles, especially being at the beginning of large-scale electric car sales. Better battery technology will help not only cellphones and tablets, but also laptops, vehicles, UAVs, large-scale transportation (trucking), and mass transit (buses, cabs, and trains). The Boeing 787 already uses batteries for most of its onboard power (not including the engines); it's only a matter of time when batteries will be able to carry more energy than a tank of fuel - the only downside is an *empty* tank weighs less than an empty battery.
    Carbon Fiber, Carbon Nanotubes, and Graphene - we haven't seen half of what can be done with these. Tesla may be developing graphene batteries that would extend its cars range by 100% or more; carbon fiber is becoming easier to work with, with new technologies being invented to shape it; it may wind up being the only material used for vehicle bodies due to its strength and light weight. Carbon nanotubes are being used to do everything from electrical storage to room-temperature superconductors to optical and thermal conductivity experiments (being a good thermal conductor along its length, yet an insulator across its diameter!)

    • M. Adams
      September 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Comments like these are the reason I bother reading comments at all. Great thinking!

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks for the detailed comment! there are lots of amazing technologies out there right now. :)

    • Ron Kroeger
      December 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Totally missed 3-D Printing, this will change everything

  27. Bob
    September 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm
  28. Don Ross
    September 15, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Wind, Tidal, Wave ,Biogas and Geothermal power

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      All great alternative energies we can only hope will take off soon. :)

  29. Howard B
    September 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    "If you’ve ever seen Star Trek, you know of the tricorder. It’s a medical device..." That's a *medical* tricorder; a regular tricorder is an all-purpose sensor device.

  30. Svend Nykjaer
    September 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    A week ago you asked a question that you may have forgotten now: "Who Will Win The Race For Wireless Power?"

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      good point! really hoping we see that come to fruition soon. :)

  31. IshtarGate
    September 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Can't believe you left out Virtual Reality! VR is going to have an enormous impact on our culture after it hits in the next few years. It will be as revolutionary as the television, if not more.

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I agree -- and I love VR.! there's a lot of great technologies out there right now. :)

  32. Andrew B
    September 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    The most amazing technology going around at the minute is the application of technologies of scale and decentralisation to food production, and I don't mean test-tube meat.

    MIT's CityFARM is pioneering the local, sustainable production of healthy food close to the point of consumption without the massive land or water requirements of classical agriculture.

    Great reason to pick up a copy of WiredUK!

    http://www.mitcityfarm.com/

    • Justin D
      September 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      thanks for letting us know about that. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *